The Grade 1 Japan Cup was run today over 2400m at Tokyo racecourse today, and Darley Japan Farm Co. Ltd's recent purchase, Admire Moon, bounced back from his disappointing 6th in the Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) to win by a head in a great finish to the prestigious race.
The race was run at an average pace, with outsider Chosan taking the early lead from veteran NAR galloper Cosmo Bulk. Olivier Peslier settled 4th favorite Pop Rock on the fence behind the leaders, and Yasunari Iwata settled Admire Moon behind him in the early stages. 3rd favorite Inti Raimi was a little further back, together with short favorite Meisho Samson (ridden by Yutaka Take), while Hirofumi Shii settled 2nd favorite 3yo filly Vodka at the tail of the field.
As the field entered the straight, the majority of the field shifted to the outside of the track, but the leader Chosan stuck to the fence and tried to fight on as the challengers came. Iwata had followed Chosan along the inside around the final corner, and as the other horses spread wide, he pulled Admire Moon around the leader's heels and asked him to sprint. He quickly put a gap on the field, but then several horses began making ground down the outside. Pop Rock and Meisho Samson came with their runs side by side, and Vodka looked a threat on their outside after threading her way through the field.
But Admire Moon fought on bravely and at the finish line, prevailed by a head from Pop Rock, with Meisho Samson a neck further back in 3rd. Vodka died on her run in the last 100m and finished 4th a further length back, while 2006 Melbourne Cup victor Delta Blues finished on well at the end to grab 5th. The best of the foreign entrants was UK representative Papal Bull finishing 7th, just ahead of US trained Artiste Royal in 8th. Saddex finished 11th, while Halicarnassus finished 17th.
The winner Admire Moon is a 4yo colt by End Sweep out of the Sunday Silence mare My Katies. He is owned by Darley Japan Farm Co. Ltd, was bred by Northern Racing and is trained by Hiroyoshi Matsuda.
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